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Delusional? OF COURSE I'M DELUSIONAL!! Do you know how hard it is to stay positive all the time when all you folks do is complain, complain, complain?! Jiminy, mother-lovin', toaster strudel! Do you think I have all the answers? OF COURSE I DON'T! WE can't even find the back of our own mind. Anxiety is right. Riley doesn't need us as much as she needs them. And that hurts! It REALLY hurts.

Joy is a character in the Inside Out franchise. She is one of the original five emotions inside the mind of Riley Andersen.


Inside Out[]

Io Joy tablet2

When Riley was first born, Joy was the first ever emotion created. She then walked towards the control console, which at the time consisted of only one button. The instant she pressed it, infant Riley began smiling. However, 33 seconds later, Riley began crying. Joy soon realized that Sadness has arrived and pressed the button. When Joy looked at her, Sadness introduced herself, and Joy awkwardly moved her aside to make Riley happy again.

She, Sadness, and the other emotions, Anger, Disgust and Fear, controlled Riley through her thoughts and mind. Joy seemed to want to keep Riley happy and joyful, and always had important tasks for every emotion except Sadness, claiming she didn't know what Sadness did.

When Riley was eleven, her dad got a new job in San Francisco, and the family relocated there, leaving Minnesota behind. Joy tried to keep things cheerful, even as Riley's daydreams about her life in San Francisco were quashed by the reality. When Sadness touched a formerly happy memory and made it sad, Joy took it away from her, but was unable to wash the Sadness off. Sadness touched a Core Memory, saying it looked crooked, resulting in it turning sad and deactivating Goofball Island. Sadness kept trying to touch the core memories, but Joy stopped her. She tried to distract Sadness by sending her to reach Mind Manuals.

That night, as Riley lay down in her room, Joy tried to get the other emotions to look at the positives. They objected that there was no reason for Riley to be happy given the circumstances. As Riley went to sleep, Joy prepared for her Dream Duty. When Riley's dream turned into a nightmare, Joy intervened and turned it off, then pulled up a happy memory of Riley skating with her family.

The next morning, Joy woke the other emotions with an accordion. She tried to get them excited for Riley's first day of school. She put herself in charge of the console and gave the other emotions jobs, though Sadness's only job was to keep all the Sadness inside the Circle of Sadness.

Joy wanted to talk to some cool girls at Riley's new school, but Disgust stopped her, warning of the consequences. As Riley talked to her new class about her life in Minnesota, they realized Sadness had touched another one of Riley's happy memories. Joy tried to eject it and clean it, but she couldn't and Riley started crying in class. In that moment, a new Core Memory formed, a sad one. Joy tried to discard it, but Sadness said she couldn't because it was a Core Memory. They fought over it and knocked all the Core Memories out of the holder, deactivating Riley's Islands of Personality. Joy rushed to collect them and keep Sadness from putting the new Core Memory to the holder, but one of Riley's happy Core Memories was sucked into a Recall Tube, so Joy rushed to grab it. She got pulled in herself, along with Sadness and all the Core Memories.

They landed in Long Term Memory, where Joy collected the Core Memories and held them close to her. They saw that all of Riley's Islands of Personality were deactivated and Joy became determined to get back to Headquarters and plug the Core Memories back in to fix it. They started walking back toward Headquarters. The quickest way back was over a very narrow path over the Memory Dump. Sadness didn't want to risk it, but followed Joy when she started across. When Goofball Island collapsed, Joy and Sadness had to run back to avoid falling. When Sadness asked if they could fix Goofball Island, Joy admitted she didn't know, but would try. Joy was relieved when Riley went to sleep, since nothing bad could happen while she was sleeping. They decided to cross at Friendship Island instead, but Sadness despaired and Joy was forced to drag her to move through Riley's mind.

On their way, they ran into some Forgetters and Jo was upset to see them erasing memories, though they explained that when Riley didn't care about memories, they faded and it was their job to remove the faded memories. When Friendship Island fell next, Joy said they'd just have to go the long way. As they continued moving, they ran into Bing Bong, Riley's former imaginary friend, and Joy promised to help Riley remember him in exchange for his help. Bing Bong also gave Joy a bag to carry the Core Memories. Bing Bong said they could take a Train of Thought back to Headquarters and there was a station in Imagination Land. To get there, they had to go through Abstract Thought, where they were nearly destroyed when some Mind Workers activated it while they were inside. They got out on the other side just in time to see the train leave without them. Bing Bong said there was another station through Imagination Land, so they started walking toward it.

As they traveled, Hockey Island collapsed and Joy reminded Bing Bong they needed to get to the station. As they moved through Imagination Land, they watched Mind Workers demolish many of its exhibits. They also took Bing Bong's rocket and pushed it into the Memory Dump. Bing Bong was sad and started to cry. Joy tried to cheer him up so they could get to the train station, but Sadness sat with him and talked him through his negative feelings. Then she hugged him while he cried. Once he was doing, he said he was okay and started leading them to the train station. Joy asked Sadness how she did that and Sadness said she didn't know. She just listened to him.

At the station, they boarded the train and started off toward Headquarters. When Riley fell asleep, the train stopped. Determined to get back to Headquarters as soon as possible, Joy said they needed to get to Dream Productions and use a happy dream to wake Riley up. Sadness said a scary dream might work better, but Joy refused to listen. She had Sadness dress as a dog with her and they invaded a dream, but the dream turned scary when the dog costume ripped. Riley started to wake, but the dream director called security and Bing Bong was taken to the Subconscious, where he was trapped in a cage on top of Jangles the Clown. Joy and Sadness followed, as he had the Core Memories, and freed him. Then they woke Jangles and led him back to Dream Productions, where his presence woke Riley. They ran to the train and started riding back to Headquarters. As they rode, Joy admitted that Sadness had been right about using a scary dream instead of a happy one. Bing Bong looked at a memory of Riley and said she was so big, she wouldn't fit in his rocket anymore, making him wonder how they'd get to the moon. Joy looked at the memory and said the whole team was there. Sadness said it was the day the Prairie Dogs lost the playoffs after Riley missed the game-winning shot. She felt awful and wanted to quit.

When Honesty Island collapsed, it knocked out the support beams for the train, throwing them off course. The train landed on the edge of the dump and started to slide. Some Mind Workers got Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong off the train just before it fell. Then the Mind Workers informed them that Riley was running away. Joy wanted to go to Family Island next, but then it crumbled. When Joy noticed a broken recall tube nearby, she decided to use it to get back. When Sadness climbed in with Joy, Joy pushed her out as it was making the Core Memories sad. She declared that Riley needed to be happy and left Sadness behind as she close the Recall Tube. She shot up, but then the Recall Tube broke, sending her into the Memory Dump along with Bing Bong.

Joy tried to climb out, but couldn't. Bing Bong said they were stuck down there, forgotten. Joy looked at a sad memory of Riley talking to her class. She looked at other memories and reminisced about Riley's childhood, then said she just wanted Riley to be happy. She started to cry and once of her tears hit a memory, leaving a mark. When Joy tried to brush it away, she saw that the happy memory of Riley with her parents and her team started sad, with Riley crying over missing the goal. Joy realized that Sadness was hot Mom and Dad and the team knew to come help Riley. This strengthened her resolve to get back to Headquarters and she had the idea to use Bing Bong's rocket to get out. She sang his song to find it and they climbed on and sang together. They tried to use a ramp to launch themselves out, but failed several times. Bing Bong encouraged Joy to try again and said he had a good feeling about this time. When they launched, he jumped off the back, lightening the load and allowing Joy to make it to the top. Joy celebrated until she realized Bing Bong hadn't made it. She looked back down, where Bing Bong was celebrating her success. He told Joy to take Riley to the moon for him.

Joy searched for Sadness as Family Island crumbled. Finally, she saw a line of memories that Sadness had touched and followed it to Sadness. Sadness ran away, saying that Riley was better off without her, but Joy followed her to Imagination Land. Joy then used the Imaginary Boyfriend Generator to create a large amount of imaginary boyfriends, which she stored in her bag. She used it to make a tower with herself at the top. She launched herself to a bouncy area, then grabbed Sadness on her way back. They hit the side of Headquarters, but were stopped by the windows. Disgust goaded Anger to make him angry enough to have flames come out of his head, then used the flames to cut through the window, allowing Joy and Sadness to come back inside. The other emotions told Joy she needed to fix things with Riley, but Joy stepped inside and had Sadness take care of it instead. Sadness took control and was able to get Riley to get off the bus and go back home to her parents.

Joy then offered the Core Memories to Sadness, who took them and they watched as they turned blue. Sadness then projected the memories, allowing Riley to admit to her parents that she missed Minnesota and her life there. Mom and Dad admitted that they were sad as well and they all shared memories of Minnesota. Joy then gave the sad Core Memory back to Sadness and together, they formed a new Core Memory that was both happy and sad.

A year later, Riley had many more Core Memories that were mixed emotions, forming a series of new Islands of Personality. Joy found them all beautiful. The Mind Workers also finished installing a new, expanded console, including a button labelled "puberty," which Joy said was probably not important.

Riley's First Date?[]

When Mom was probing Riley to see if she and Jordan were going out on a date or just as friends, Joy was embarrassed at Mom's attempted use of slang.

Mind Candy[]

Joy tried to keep the other emotions cheerful, especially Sadness. She tried to change Sadness's expression, offered her a flower, and pulled her to flip around on a trampoline. She threw marshmallows at Anger to get flames to shoot out of his head, which she and the other emotions used to roast marshmallows.

Joy then stood on Fear, who stood on Anger, so she could reach a high shelf and place a memory. Then Sadness pulled a string, revealing the shape of a Christmas tree.

Inside Out 2[]

Joy and the other Emotions continue to help Riley in her day-to-day life, all the while building her Sense Of Self and keeping the bad Memories away.

Later, when Headquarters get torn apart once puberty begins, Joy is pushed away from the console by the new emotions, Anxiety, Ennui, Embarrassment, and Envy. She tries to keep doing things the way she’s always done them, but is told she’s too “old school”.

Anxiety throws the old Emotions out of Headquarters, into the Vault of Secrets. Joy is happy to see Bloofy there. They escape. Joy has a plan to follow the Stream of Consciousness to the Back of the Mind and retrieve the Sense of Self. The journey doesn’t go as planned. Joy gets fed up with the other Emotions complaining, and she snaps.

Later, they wind up in Imagination Land, and find Anxiety controlling Mind Workers to project worst case scenario nightmares. She convinces them to stop. Once they are stranded at the Back of the Mind, Joy looks around at the Memories for answers, but can’t find anything, and breaks down. She has an idea to blow up the dam and send an avalanche of bad Memories to Headquarters. Once she gets there, she stops the anxiety attack and saves Riley.

At the end, Joy learns to accept the new emotions and the messy, imperfect Sense of Self.


As her name would suggest, Joy is vivacious and has a cheerful, peppy and optimistic attitude, mainly wanting the best for Riley. However, this causes her to act somewhat selfishly towards the other emotions, particularly Sadness, as Joy likes to be in control of how Riley feels. While she thinks of herself as a people person, Joy grows easily frustrated with anyone who doesn't share her worldview. She's happiest when she's in charge, and she's confident that her way is always the right way.

As the movie goes on, Joy, learns to accept Sadness as an integral part of Riley's mind. Amy Poehler stated "Joy goes through her own journey in the film: She realizes that she has to also be sad. And so when we were working on the character together, it was like: What level are we at in the beginning? Can we modulate that? And how does she change?"

Notes and Trivia[]

  • Joy's goal has always been to make sure Riley stays happy. She is lighthearted, optimistic and determined to find the fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley's life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. As long as Riley is happy, so is Joy.
  • According to Pete Docter, her appearance is based on that of a star.[source?]
    • This can be seen in Abstract Thought, as during the fourth stage, Joy and Sadness were reduced to a single shape and color Joy was a yellow star and Sadness was a blue teardrop.
  • Originally her wardrobe consisted of blue overalls (and that can be seen in the early versions of the film in deleted scenes and conceptual art). But with the change of version and story, her wardrobe became a lime-colored summer dress.[source?]
    • This is because the team sought to move away from stereotypical "feminine" interests, such as the color pink or the dresses, although in the final version those interests are used.[source?]
  • Her favorite island is Goofball Island.[source?]
  • During gameplay of Disney Infinity 3.0, she is shown to have the ability to project light beams from her hands as a means of combat, to pop balloons (a main collectable), and to perform a gentle descend similar to Princess Peach's floating ability and Yoshi's Flutter Jump of Nintendo's Super Mario and Yoshi's Island franchises.[source?]


Inside Out has a collection of images and media related to Joy.


Inside Out[]

Do you ever look at someone and wonder, "What is going on inside their head?"

It was amazing. Just Riley and Me forever.

All right, everyone, fresh start. We are gonna have a good day, which will turn into a good week, which will turn into a good year, which turns into a good life!

Anyway, these are Riley's memories, and they're mostly happy, you'll notice. Not to brag.

But the really important ones are over here. I don't want to get too technical, but these are called Core Memories. Each one came from a super important time in Riley's life, like when she first scored a goal. That was so amazing!"

I'm doing the happy dance! I'm not wearing any pants! Something-something-France! I'm doing the happy dance, hey!

Okay, first day of school! Very, very exciting! I was up late last night figuring out a new plan. Here it is!

This is the Circle of Sadness. Your job is to make sure that all the Sadness stays inside of it!

Whoo-hoo! We did it! Group hug! You too, Anger!

Goofball Island is my personal favorite.

We're the team Riley needs! Each one of us has something to contribute!

(Gazing at Riley's new Personality Islands) Say what you want, I think it's all beautiful.

Inside Out 2[]

Riley's got this.

Could you do me a favor and stop tearing Headquarters apart?

Wow! You've got a lot of energy! Maybe you could just stay in one place?

Great job, Anxiety! I stepped back, you stepped in. You got Riley back on track. Now I'm ready to step back in.

Delusional? Of course I'm delusional! Do you know how hard it is to stay positive all the time when all you folks do is complain, complain, complain? Jiminy, mother-lovin' toaster strudel! Do you think I have all the answers? Of course I don't!

Anxiety is right. Riley doesn't need us as much as she needs them. And that hurts. It really hurts.

If you wanted Riley to be happy, you would stop hurting her.

I don't know how to stop Anxiety. Maybe this is what happens when you grow up. You feel less joy.

You don't get to choose who Riley is.

Anxiety, you need to let her go.

Every bit of Riley makes her who she is. And we love all of our girl. Every messy, beautiful piece of her.


v - e - d
Inside Out Poster Logo
Inside Out: JoySadnessAngerDisgustFearMrs. Andersen's EmotionsMr. Andersen's EmotionsBing BongRainbow UnicornJangles the ClownRiley AndersenMrs. AndersenMr. AndersenMegFrank and DaveJordanFritz

Inside Out 2: AnxietyEmbarrassmentEnnuiEnvyNostalgia
Deleted characters: GloomHopePrideShame